New Jersey Premiere of “Okradena Zemlia”


New Jersey Premiere of “Okradena Zemlia”

On Sunday, November 17, 2009 the Ukrainian Museum of New Jersey in Memory of Patriarch Msytlav of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of USA, sponsored the New Jersey screening of “Okradena Zemlia”, a newly released Ukrainian Language documentary film on the 1932-1933 Genocide-Holodomor in Ukraine.

The film is based on the newest available archival material, eye-witness accounts, including those of survivors living near the Russian border, and commentaries by prominent historians, writers and researchers on the Ukrainian genocide.  The film in produced, directed and edited by award-winning filmmaker Yurij Luhovy, member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, who also produced “Harvest of Despair”.

The archival footage presented in this documentary along with actual documentation from Soviet archives revealing Stalin’s orders to intentionally annihilate the Ukrainian peasantry in 1932 and 1933 and “turn them into earth”  unambiguously prove that the famine was intentional and devised by Stalin. 

The film explores the short lived hope and optimism of the Ukrainian SSR and of what socialism promised, and then proceeded to visually depict the betrayal and horror as entire villages of ethnic Ukrainians were wiped out in such regions as Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv and Odesa. Archival footage reveals the peasants’ uprisings against the government and presents startling facts about how they protested the incomprehensible and impossible requirements imposed on them. Other archival documents reveal that a special commission covered up the truth about the huge number of unregistered deaths resulting from the Famine and that a secret document in April 1934 ordered all official registries of Soviet Ukraine to be destroyed. The number of territories and numbers of people who were affected are staggering, while the number of victims is incalculable but estimated to be from 5 to 10 million.

Most poignant were the accounts of the survivors. “No one cried anymore...”, said one 90 year old survivor.  After the film, Ms. Luba Shevchenko shared her recollections of the Famine as a 5 year old, and there was a question and answer session with the director.

The film is intended for use in schools, universities, by historians, journalists, government officials, and the general public.  An English language version of the film is currently under way.  To arrange for a screening or to support Mr. Luhovy in this project, please contact him at or (514) 481-5871.

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